Convention of 1833
Overview
 
The Convention of 1833 a political gathering of settlers in Mexican Texas
Mexican Texas
Mexican Texas is the name given by Texas history scholars to the period between 1821 and 1836, when Texas was an integral part of Mexico. The period began with Mexico's victory over Spain in its war of independence in 1821. For the first several years of its existence, Mexican Texas operated very...

, was a successor to the Convention of 1832
Convention of 1832
The Convention of 1832 was the first political gathering of colonists in Mexican Texas. Delegates sought reforms from the Mexican government and hoped to quell the widespread belief that settlers in Texas wished to secede from Mexico...

, whose requests had not been addressed by the Mexican government. Despite the political uncertainty resulting from a recently concluded civil war, 56 delegates met in San Felipe de Austin
San Felipe, Texas
San Felipe, also known as San Felipe de Austin, is a town in Austin County, Texas, United States. The town was the social, economic, and political center of the early Stephen F. Austin colony. The population was 868 at the 2000 census.-History:...

 to draft a series of petitions to the Mexican government.

The volatile William H. Wharton
William H. Wharton
William Harris Wharton was an early colonist, political leader and orator in Texas.Wharton was born in Virginia and was raised by an uncle following the deaths of his parents. He graduated from the University of Nashville and was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1826...

 presided over the meeting. Although the convention's agenda largely mirrored that of the Convention of 1832, delegates also agreed to pursue independent statehood for the province, which was at the time part of the state of Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas was one of the constituent states of the newly established United Mexican States under its 1824 Constitution.It had two capitals: first Saltillo, and then Monclova...

.
Encyclopedia
The Convention of 1833 a political gathering of settlers in Mexican Texas
Mexican Texas
Mexican Texas is the name given by Texas history scholars to the period between 1821 and 1836, when Texas was an integral part of Mexico. The period began with Mexico's victory over Spain in its war of independence in 1821. For the first several years of its existence, Mexican Texas operated very...

, was a successor to the Convention of 1832
Convention of 1832
The Convention of 1832 was the first political gathering of colonists in Mexican Texas. Delegates sought reforms from the Mexican government and hoped to quell the widespread belief that settlers in Texas wished to secede from Mexico...

, whose requests had not been addressed by the Mexican government. Despite the political uncertainty resulting from a recently concluded civil war, 56 delegates met in San Felipe de Austin
San Felipe, Texas
San Felipe, also known as San Felipe de Austin, is a town in Austin County, Texas, United States. The town was the social, economic, and political center of the early Stephen F. Austin colony. The population was 868 at the 2000 census.-History:...

 to draft a series of petitions to the Mexican government.

The volatile William H. Wharton
William H. Wharton
William Harris Wharton was an early colonist, political leader and orator in Texas.Wharton was born in Virginia and was raised by an uncle following the deaths of his parents. He graduated from the University of Nashville and was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1826...

 presided over the meeting. Although the convention's agenda largely mirrored that of the Convention of 1832, delegates also agreed to pursue independent statehood for the province, which was at the time part of the state of Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas was one of the constituent states of the newly established United Mexican States under its 1824 Constitution.It had two capitals: first Saltillo, and then Monclova...

. Under the guidance of Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

, former governor of the American state of Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

, a committee drafted a state constitution to submit to the Mexican Congress. The proposed constitution was largely patterned on American political principles, yet retained several Spanish customs. Delegates also requested customs exemptions and asked that a ban on immigration into Texas be lifted.

Some residents complained that this convention, like its predecessor, was illegal. Nevertheless, Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin
Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri. He was known as the Father of Texas, led the second, but first legal and ultimately successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States. The capital of Texas, Austin in Travis County,...

 journeyed to Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 to present the petitions to the government. Frustrated with the lack of progress, in October Austin wrote a letter encouraging Texans to form their own state government. This letter was forwarded to the Mexican government and Austin was imprisoned in early 1834. During his imprisonment, the federal and state legislatures later passed a series of measures to placate the colonists, including the introduction of trial by jury
Trial by Jury
Trial by Jury is a comic opera in one act, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It was first produced on 25 March 1875, at London's Royalty Theatre, where it initially ran for 131 performances and was considered a hit, receiving critical praise and outrunning its...

. Austin acknowledged that "[e]very evil complained of has been remedied."

Background

Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821. After the new country's monarchy was overthrown, the Constitution of 1824 established a federalist
Federalism
Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

 republic composed of multiple states. Sparsely populated provinces were denied independent statehood and instead merged with neighboring areas. Mexican Texas
Mexican Texas
Mexican Texas is the name given by Texas history scholars to the period between 1821 and 1836, when Texas was an integral part of Mexico. The period began with Mexico's victory over Spain in its war of independence in 1821. For the first several years of its existence, Mexican Texas operated very...

, which marked the country's eastern border with the United States, was combined with Coahuila
Coahuila
Coahuila, formally Coahuila de Zaragoza , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Coahuila de Zaragoza is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico...

 to form the new state Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas was one of the constituent states of the newly established United Mexican States under its 1824 Constitution.It had two capitals: first Saltillo, and then Monclova...

. To facilitate government of the large area, the state was subdivided into several departments; all of Texas was included in the Department of Béxar.

Texas was part of the Mexican frontier, and settlers faced frequent raids by native tribes. Bankrupt and unable to provide much military assistance, in 1824 the federal government legalized immigration from the United States and Europe, hoping that an influx of settlers would discourage raiding. As the number of Americans living in Texas increased, Mexican authorities became apprehensive that the United States intended to annex the area, possibly by force. To curb the perceived threat, the Mexican government passed the Law of April 6, 1830
Law of April 6, 1830
The Law of April 6, 1830 was passed in Mexico to counter concerns that Mexican Texas, part of the border state of Coahuila y Texas was in danger of being annexed by the United States.-Background:...

, which restricted immigration from the United States into Texas and called for the first enforcement of customs duties. The new laws were unpopular with both native Mexicans in Texas (Tejano
Tejano
Tejano or Texano is a term used to identify a Texan of Mexican heritage.Historically, the Spanish term Tejano has been used to identify different groups of people...

s
) and recent immigrants (Texian
Texian
Texian is an archaic, mostly defunct 19th century demonym which defined a settler of current-day Texas, one of the southern states of the United States of America which borders the country of Mexico...

s).

In 1832, General Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

 led a revolt against President Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante y Oseguera was president of Mexico three times, from 1830 to 1832, from 1837 to 1839 and from 1839 to 1841. He was a Conservative. He first came to power by leading a coup against president Vicente Guerrero...

's centralist
Centralized government
A centralized or centralised government is one in which power or legal authority is exerted or coordinated by a de facto political executive to which federal states, local authorities, and smaller units are considered subject...

 government. Under the pretext that they supported Santa Anna, a small group of Texians armed themselves and overthrew the commander of the garrison that was enforcing the new customs duties. Other settlers followed their example, and within weeks all Mexican soldiers in eastern Texas had been forced to leave.

Buoyed by their military success, Texians organized a political convention to persuade Mexican authorities to weaken the Laws of April 6, 1830. Although the two municipalities with the largest Tejano populations, San Antonio de Béxar and Victoria, refused to participate, 55 delegates met in October for the Convention of 1832
Convention of 1832
The Convention of 1832 was the first political gathering of colonists in Mexican Texas. Delegates sought reforms from the Mexican government and hoped to quell the widespread belief that settlers in Texas wished to secede from Mexico...

. They adopted a series of resolutions that requested changes in the governance of Texas. The most controversial item was for Texas to become an independent state, separate from Coahuila. After approving the list of resolutions, delegates created a seven-member central committee to convene future meetings.

Before the list of concerns could be presented to the state and federal governments, Ramón Músquiz
Ramón Músquiz
- Biography :Don Muzquiz Ramón González was born in 1797 in San Antonio, Texas, in an environment where he lived with presidio soldiers and settlers, both Spanish and Mexicans and Anglos, mostly of northern Texas. Coming from a Basque family, his life was spent in the company of missionary friars...

, the political chief of the Department of Béxar, ruled that the convention was illegal. The law directed that citizens should protest to their local ayuntamiento
Ayuntamiento
Ayuntamiento In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian .*Galician .*Basque . is the general term for the council of a municipality, or sometimes the municipality itself, in Spain and Latin America. Historically Ayuntamiento was often preceded by the word excelentísimo , when referring to...

(similar to a city council), which would forward their concerns to the political chief. The political chief could then escalate the concerns to the appropriate governmental authority. Because this process had not been followed, Músquiz annulled the resolutions.

Preparation

The previous convention's lack of Tejano representation fostered a perception that only newcomers to Texas were dissatisfied. The president of the Convention of 1832, Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin
Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri. He was known as the Father of Texas, led the second, but first legal and ultimately successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States. The capital of Texas, Austin in Travis County,...

, traveled to San Antonio de Béxar to garner support for the changes the convention had requested. Austin found that the Tejano leaders largely agreed with the result of the convention but opposed the methods by which the resolutions had been proposed. They urged patience; Bustamante was still president and would not look favorably on a petition from settlers who had recently sided with his rival, Santa Anna.

As a compromise, the ayuntamiento of San Antonio de Béxar drafted a petition containing similar language to the convention's resolutions. Following legal norms, they submitted this to Músquiz, who forwarded it to the Mexican Congress in early 1833. At this time, the federal and state governments were in flux. Bustamante had resigned the presidency in late December 1832 as part of a treaty to end the civil war. There was no effective state government. The governor of Coahuila y Tejas had died in September 1832, and his replacement, federalist Juan Martin de Veramendi
Juan Martín de Veramendi
Juan Martin de Veramendi was the governor of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas from 1832 until 1833.Veramendi was born on December 17, 1778 in San Fernando de Béxar, known as Bexar, to Fernando Veramendi and Maria Josefa Granados...

, immediately dissolved the state legislature, which had centralist leanings. Veramendi called elections to seat a new government in early 1833. Due to the political uncertainty, Austin urged that the federal government be given several months to address the petition. If no action was eventually taken, he advised that Texas residents would form their own state government, essentially declaring independence from Coahuila, if not from Mexico.

Austin's timeframe was endorsed by Tejano leaders, but it did not pacify the Texian settlers. Towards the end of December, the central committee called for a new convention to meet in San Felipe de Austin in April 1833.San Felipe de Austin was the capital of the first colony founded by Stephen F. Austin. Elections were scheduled for March. This action disturbed the Tejano leaders, who saw it as a violation of their agreement with Austin.

Communities in Texas elected 56 delegates for the new convention. In a departure from the previous election, San Antonio de Béxar also sent delegates, including James Bowie, the son-in-law of Governor Veramendi. Bowie, like many of his fellow delegates, was known as an agitator who wanted immediate change. The majority of the delegates to the previous convention had been more cautious.

Proceedings

The Convention of 1833 was called to order on April 1, 1833, in San Felipe de Austin. By coincidence, on that day Santa Anna was inaugurated as the new President of Mexico. Delegates elected William H. Wharton
William H. Wharton
William Harris Wharton was an early colonist, political leader and orator in Texas.Wharton was born in Virginia and was raised by an uncle following the deaths of his parents. He graduated from the University of Nashville and was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1826...

, a "known hothead", as president of the convention. Wharton had lost his bid to be president of the previous convention. Historian William C. Davis
William C. Davis (historian)
William C. Davis is a professor of history at Virginia Tech University. An expert on the American Civil War, Davis has twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He has written more than forty books on the American Civil War and other aspects of Southern history. He was twice nominated for a...

 describes Wharton's election as "a public declaration that while Austin was still respected, his moderate course would no longer be followed".

On the first day, several delegates addressed the convention to justify the recent Texian actions. Many argued that the expulsion of most garrisons in the region was not an act of disloyalty to Mexico, but instead resistance to a particular form of governance. Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

, who represented Nacogdoches, commented that "Santa Anna was only a name used as an excuse for resistance to oppression". Several delegates argued that the recently concluded civil war had left Mexico in too much turmoil to provide effective rule for Texas. Echoing the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 slogan "no taxation without representation
No taxation without representation
"No taxation without representation" is a slogan originating during the 1750s and 1760s that summarized a primary grievance of the British colonists in the Thirteen Colonies, which was one of the major causes of the American Revolution...

", one delegate insisted that Texas was not bound by Mexican laws since its settlers had no representation. This delegate overlooked the fact that Texas had been granted two representatives to the Coahuila y Tejas legislature.

Austin presented an overview of the events that had occurred in Texas and in the rest of Mexico over the previous year. He enumerated several grievances against the political and judicial systems and concluded that Texas needed to become an independent state. This could be justified, in his opinion, by language in the Constitution of 1824.

State constitution

By the second day of the convention, delegates were in agreement to pursue separate statehood. Austin wrote to a friend, "We are now able to sustain A State Govt. and no country ever required one more than this". Houston was named chairman of a committee to draft a new state constitution. Although Houston had not lived in Texas for very long, he was well-known, having served as governor of Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 and as a member of the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

.
The new constitution was based on a copy of the 1780 Massachusetts Constitution
Massachusetts Constitution
The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the fundamental governing document of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one of the 50 individual state governments that make up the United States of America. It was drafted by John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Bowdoin during the...

 provided by one of the committee members. The proposed document also drew from the constitutions of other states in the United States, including Louisiana, Missouri, and Tennessee. It provided "meticulous detail" for the new system of government. The executive branch structure, proposed by Austin, called for a governor who would serve two-year terms. The state would have a bicameral legislature and a three-tier judiciary system, with local and district courts ultimately kept in check by a state supreme court
Supreme court
A supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, instance court, judgment court, high court, or apex court...

.

A 27-article bill of rights
Bill of rights
A bill of rights is a list of the most important rights of the citizens of a country. The purpose of these bills is to protect those rights against infringement. The term "bill of rights" originates from England, where it referred to the Bill of Rights 1689. Bills of rights may be entrenched or...

, containing, according to historian Howard Miller, an "impressive list" of protected rights, was included. This document aligned closely with contemporary American political ideals, especially the notion that all men had a right to liberty. Much of the language and concepts were drawn from the first eight amendments to the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

. The document called for trial by jury
Trial by Jury
Trial by Jury is a comic opera in one act, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It was first produced on 25 March 1875, at London's Royalty Theatre, where it initially ran for 131 performances and was considered a hit, receiving critical praise and outrunning its...

, a distinct departure from Mexican law, which required that trials be heard by the local alcalde
Alcalde
Alcalde , or Alcalde ordinario, is the traditional Spanish municipal magistrate, who had both judicial and administrative functions. An alcalde was, in the absence of a corregidor, the presiding officer of the Castilian cabildo and judge of first instance of a town...

. Defendants would be granted counsel and would have the right to examine any evidence against them. They would be protected from excessive bail or cruel and unusual punishments. Civil authorities would take priority over military authorities. Delegates also agreed to protect "free communication of thoughts and opinions", a phrase carefully drafted to imply freedom of speech, of assembly, and of the press. Although it could also be interpreted to imply freedom of religion, delegates were unwilling to explicitly grant that right, knowing that it would cause an uproar in Catholic Mexico.Although Mexican law mandated that settlers convert to Catholicism, most Texians continued to practice their former religions with little interference from governmental authorities.

A few of the rights were drawn from Spanish practices. The proposed constitution forbade the English practices of primogeniture
Primogeniture
Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings . Historically, the term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females...

 and entailment
Fee tail
At common law, fee tail or entail is an estate of inheritance in real property which cannot be sold, devised by will, or otherwise alienated by the owner, but which passes by operation of law to the owner's heirs upon his death...

, following a change made to Spanish law in 1821. Delegates retained the traditional Spanish prohibition against seizing a debtor's physical property and extended it to forbid imprisonment as a punishment for debt. This was a novel idea. In the United States, nine states had enumerated certain conditions under which a debtor could not be imprisoned, but no state had an unqualified prohibition on the practice.

Borrowing from the resolutions of the Convention of 1832, delegates wrote into the constitution a guarantee of free public education. They further banned unsecured paper currency and insisted the state economy should be based solely on hard currency
Hard currency
Hard currency , in economics, refers to a globally traded currency that is expected to serve as a reliable and stable store of value...

. When the constitution was completed, David G. Burnet
David G. Burnet
David Gouverneur Burnet was an early politician within the Republic of Texas, serving as interim President of Texas , second Vice President of the Republic of Texas , and Secretary of State for the new state of Texas after it was annexed to the United States of America.Burnet was born in Newark,...

 headed a subcommittee to craft a letter to Mexican authorities to explain the merits of the proposal.

Resolutions

In addition to the development of a state constitution, delegates passed a series of resolutions that asked Mexican authorities for reforms. Several of these echoed resolutions passed at the previous year's convention. Delegates again insisted that the ban on immigration should be repealed and that customs duties be lifted. Resolutions also requested additional protection from raids by native tribes, and that the government implement a more efficient mail delivery system.
We do hold in utter abhorrence all participation, whether direct or indirect, in the African Slave Trade; that we do concur in the general indignation which has been manifested throughout the civilized world against that inhuman and unprincipled traffic; and we do therefore earnestly recommend to our constituents, the good people of Texas, that they will not only abstain from all concern in that abominable traffic, but that they will unite their efforts to prevent the evil from polluting our shores.
—Text of resolution condemning slavery


One of the resolutions would have been more suited for passage by a state legislature than a group of concerned citizens. Perhaps to atone for some of the more revolutionary items they had requested, as one of their final acts delegates passed a resolution that condemned the slave trade within Texas. The Constitution of 1824 had already abolished the slave trade, and the constitution of Coahuila y Tejas had forbidden the importation of slaves into the state. Most settlers in Texas ignored the restrictions and instead converted their slaves to servants indentured for 99 years. African slaves were still imported into Texas occasionally, and a ship carrying slaves docked in Galveston Bay
Galveston Bay
Galveston Bay is a large estuary located along the upper coast of Texas in the United States. It is connected to the Gulf of Mexico and is surrounded by sub-tropic marshes and prairies on the mainland. The water in the Bay is a complex mixture of sea water and fresh water which supports a wide...

 as the convention met. This ship, like most others used to import slaves, came from Cuba, which was a possession of Spain. Because Spain did not officially recognize Mexican independence, delegates considered this trade treasonous to Mexico.

Delegates ordered that the resolution be printed in newspapers in the Mexican interior and in New Orleans. It was not printed in Texas,Although Davis clearly asserts that the resolution was not printed within Texas, Barker (Oct 1902, p. 151) claims it was published in the Texas Advocate. Barker does not specify where this newspaper was printed or by whom. clearly indicating that it was intended to influence public opinion in the Mexican interior rather than in Texas. The resolution was not binding, and slaves continued to be imported to Texas through Cuba.

Despite a vocal minority advocating for the unilateral implementation of the proposals, delegates agreed to present the requests to the Mexican Congress for approval. They did agree to take action if it appeared their demands would be ignored. As their last act, delegates elected Austin, James Miller, and Erasmo Seguin
Erasmo Seguín
Juan Jose Maria Erasmo Seguin was a prominent citizen and politician in San Antonio de Bexar in the 19th century. From 1807 until 1835, Seguin served as postmaster of San Anotnio, TX. After Mexico achieved independence from Spain, Seguin was named the sole representative from Texas to the...

 to deliver their petitions to Mexico City. Seguin, a prominent citizen of San Antonio de Béxar, had not attended the convention. Delegates hoped Austin could persuade Seguin to accompany him, thus implying that Tejanos supported the resolutions.

Preparations for delivery

When the convention adjourned on April 13, Austin went directly to San Antonio de Béxar to meet with Seguin. Seguin called a series of meetings, held from May 3 to 5, for prominent locals to discuss the convention proceedings. He was the only Béxar resident to fully support separate statehood. Other residents suggested that the capital of Coahuila y Tejas should be moved to San Antonio de Béxar, giving Texas more power. There was precedent for this; under Veramendi, the capital had just been moved from Saltillo
Saltillo
Saltillo is the capital city of the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila and the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name. The city is located about 400 km south of the U.S. state of Texas, and 90 km west of Monterrey, Nuevo León....

 to Monclova
Monclova
On the other hand, temperatures during late spring and summer can have bouts of extreme heat, with evenings above 40°C for many consecutive days. In recent decades the hottest records have climbed as high as 43°C on July 13, 2005 and 45°C on May 4, 1984. However nighttime low temperatures are...

. If the legislature rejected the move, these residents vowed to support separate statehood.

A third group of residents believed that the convention, like its predecessor, was illegal. Under their interpretation of the laws, only the state legislature would be able to petition the Mexican Congress for such a drastic change. Austin argued that the laws really meant that no one could petition on behalf of the people unless the people had been consulted, and the convention served as that consultation. The meetings ended with no agreement on how to proceed. Austin wrote that "the people here agree in substance with the rest of Texas, but differ as to the manner, and will express no opinion for, nor against".

Seguin declined to accompany Austin. Miller also withdrew. Texas was in the throes of a cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 epidemic, and Miller, a physician, felt it his duty to stay and tend the sick. Austin then visited Goliad
Goliad, Texas
Goliad is a city in Goliad County, Texas, United States. It had a population of 1975 at the 2000 census. Founded on the San Antonio River, it is the county seat of Goliad County. It is part of the Victoria, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area. Goliad is located on U.S. Highway 59, named also for...

 but was unable to attract any more Tejano support. He chose to go to Mexico City alone; he had visited several times and had established a good reputation among government officials. Although he was warned that his reception would likely be poor, he ignored suggestions to delay his journey.

Reception

Within the Mexican interior, rumors abounded that Texas was on the verge of revolution. Many citizens in Matamoros believed Texians had already declared independence and were raising an army. Santa Anna was infuriated, especially at the involvement of Houston, a former officer in the United States military.
Immediately after Santa Anna had taken office in April, he had handed over all decision-making authority to his vice president, Valentín Gómez Farías
Valentín Gómez Farías
Valentín Gómez Farías was several times acting President of Mexico in the 1830s and 1840s.Gomez Farias was one of the more important political figures in early Mexico. The first presidency of Santa Anna from 1833 to 1836 was a temporary victory for the Mexican Liberals...

, and retired to the countryside. Farías enacted many federalist reforms, which angered citizens and army leaders. Much of the country was clamoring for a return to centralism, yet Texians wanted to take further steps toward self-rule. By the time Austin arrived in Mexico City on July 18, several Mexican states had engaged in minor revolts against Farías's reforms. Although Texians had expelled troops within their province before Santa Anna and Farías took office, many officials identified the province with the other rebellious states and were suspicious of Austin's intentions.

The cholera epidemic reached Mexico City within days of Austin's arrival, prompting Congress to adjourn before Austin could present the convention's resolutions. As he waited for the legislature to reconvene, Austin heard rumors that Texians were planning a third convention to unilaterally declare themselves a separate state. Although Austin was also frustrated at the lack of progress, he disapproved of this drastic proposal. In an attempt to quell the more radical groups in Texas, in October Austin sent a letter to the ayuntamiento in San Antonio de Béxar in which he proposed that all of the ayuntamientos should jointly form a new state government. In what could be interpreted as an inflammatory gesture, Austin signed his letter "dios y Tejas" ("God and Texas") rather than the traditional Mexican closing "dios y libertad" ("God and liberty"). A few days after he had posted the letter, the immigration ban was repealed, assuaging one of the major Texian concerns.

Austin had expected the letter to reach his friend Músquiz, who could be trusted to determine when or if it was appropriate to publicly disclose its contents. The letter arrived while Músquiz was out of town and was read by an unsympathetic ayuntamiento member. At this member's request, the ayuntamiento of San Antonio de Béxar forwarded the letter to state officials in Coahuila. The new governor,Veramendi died in the cholera epidemic. Francisco Vidaurri y Villaseñor, ordered Austin's arrest. Austin was arrested in December on suspicion of treason. He was imprisoned through all of 1834 and remained in Mexico City on bond until July 1835.

During Austin's imprisonment, the government addressed several more of the convention's proposals. At Santa Anna's urging, the Coahuila y Tejas legislature enacted several measures to placate the Texians. In early 1834, Texas gained an additional seat in the state legislature. An American immigrant was named state Attorney General, and, for the first time, foreigners were granted explicit permission to participate in retail trade. Several American legal concepts, including trial by jury, were introduced to Texas, and English was authorized as a second language. Finally, the state created four new municipalities in Texas: Matagorda
Matagorda, Texas
Matagorda is an unincorporated community in Matagorda County, Texas, United States. It had a population of approximately 710 in 2000. Matagorda is at the end of State Highway 60 and beginning of Farm to Market Road 2031, which runs over the Intracoastal Waterway and south to the Gulf of Mexico...

, San Augustine, Bastrop, and San Patricio. In a letter to a friend, Austin wrote "Every evil complained of has been remedied. This fully compensates me for all I have suffered."

Sources

originally published 1926 by Lamar & Barton originally published 2004 by New York: Free Press
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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